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Is Ibuprofen for headache and migraine pain a long-term cure or temporary relief? In this blog, we aim to shed light on this age-old question and provide a definitive answer, along with some alternative treatment options.

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen belongs to the family of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), a class of medications widely recognised for their effectiveness in pain relief, fever reduction, and inflammation control.

Headaches and migraines are painful and often debilitating conditions that can disrupt our daily lives. In search of relief, many turn to readily available over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen.

Many Australians use Ibuprofen for headache pain as it’s available over the counter at all supermarkets as well as pharmacies. It is known by several brand names such as Nurofen, Advil, Motrin and Brufen.

Is Ibuprofen the same as Panadol?

No. The primary distinction between the two lies in their effects on inflammation; while Ibuprofen mitigates inflammation, paracetamol does not. Consequently, paracetamol is more effective for certain types of pain and Ibuprofen more suitable for others.

As per the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines, Ibuprofen is the preferred choice for pain associated with osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, rheumatoid arthritis, specific types of headaches, and postoperative pain, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In contrast, paracetamol is preferable for fevers or pain caused by colds or flu.

How Does Ibuprofen for Headache Pain Work?

Ibuprofen for headache pain primarily works by stopping the production of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are compounds that play a pivotal role in the inflammatory process, and by disrupting their creation, Ibuprofen effectively combats pain, fever, and swelling.

There are a variety of possible adverse effects associated with Ibuprofen, particularly in relation to the gastrointestinal tract. A consistent warning with Ibuprofen is to take the tablets with a meal or glass of milk. This precaution helps mitigate the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort and ensures a safer experience when using this medication.

Who can take Ibuprofen for Headaches?

Ibuprofen is generally safe for adults and children over six months of age to take for headaches. However, individuals with previous medical conditions, such as a history of ulcers, bleeding disorders, kidney problems, or heart conditions, should consult a healthcare professional before use. Pregnant women should also seek extra medical guidance; anyone with a known allergy to Ibuprofen or NSAIDs should avoid it.

While it is a low-risk medication, you must always follow recommended dosages, be cautious of potential medication interactions, and if headaches persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider to rule out underlying issues.

Is taking Ibuprofen for Headache and Migraine pain effective?

While Ibuprofen for headaches and migraines can relieve their symptoms during its active period, it’s essential to recognise that this relief is only temporary. The drug’s effects typically last for around 4-6 hours before it is excreted from the body. During this time, it can effectively alleviate the symptoms associated with these conditions, making you feel better.

However, using Ibuprofen for headaches is essentially a symptom-management tool. It does not address the root causes of headaches or migraines.

*Important note
Several medications have the potential to trigger rebound headaches. For instance, people who suffer from migraines and consume non-prescription pain relievers like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for more than 15 days each month are more susceptible to developing medication overuse headaches. Speak to your health practitioner for suitable advice.

What is the best dosage when taking Ibuprofen for headache pain?

Ibuprofen, available in various forms such as 200-milligram tablets, chewable, and liquid for children, can alleviate mild to moderate headache pain in adults. A dosage of 200 mg can be taken every four to six hours, up to three times a day, for relief in many healthy adults and children over 12. For those experiencing more severe headaches, research indicates that a double dose, typically 400 mg, is often more effective than a single 200 mg dose.

What’s the difference between headaches and migraines anyway?

Headaches and migraines are both forms of head pain but differ in several key aspects.

Headaches encompass a broad category of head pain that can vary in intensity, location, and duration. They can result from various causes, such as stress, dehydration, or tension, and typically involve a steady, dull, aching pain.

In contrast, Migraines are a specific type of headache characterised by intense, throbbing pain, often on one side of the head. They are accompanied by additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes visual disturbances known as auras.

Migraines are longer-lasting than typical headaches and can last for hours or even days. They often have identifiable triggers, and their treatment involves both prevention and acute relief strategies, including prescribed medications and lifestyle adjustments.

There are four main kinds of migraine; Classic, Vestibular, Abdominal and Silent. It’s crucial that you seek accurate diagnoses to ensure you receive the right treatment for you. Our experienced headache specialists use modern research and techniques to safely and effectively treat your pain.

If you feel like we can help, give us a call on 1800 HEADACHE (43 23 22) or book online today.

So, what can you do to find permanent relief?

To truly tackle the underlying causes of headaches and migraines, we strongly recommend that sufferers seek the expertise of an experienced headache clinician. In Australia, the Australian Headache and Migraine Clinics offer specialised advice, assessment, diagnosis, and potential treatments for various headaches and migraines.

Consulting a headache clinician can be pivotal in regaining control over your life when plagued by these debilitating conditions. By addressing the root causes and tailoring treatment plans to individual needs, these clinics provide comprehensive solutions beyond the temporary relief offered by medications like Ibuprofen.

Don’t live in pain any longer

While Ibuprofen is a valuable tool for managing the symptoms of headaches and migraines, it’s definitely not a permanent cure. Consulting a headache clinician is strongly advised for long-term relief and a deeper understanding of these conditions.

Take the first step towards reclaiming your life from the clutches of headaches and migraines by seeking expert guidance today. Your journey to lasting relief and improved well-being starts here.

If you’d like more information on Ibuprofen for headache and migraine pain, call 1800 HEADACHE or consult your health practitioner.


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